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The Ideal House designed and furnished by the Brazilian brothers, Fernando and Humberto Campana, in Cologne, 2004

2000s
From email, texting and the internet, to mobile phones, PDAs, DVDs, search engines and MP3 files, our daily lives are filed with new tools, systems and networks which would have seemed inconceivable twenty years ago. These new technologies have transformed the way we lead our lives and designers, such as the Bouroullec brothers in France and Hella Jongerius and Jurgen Bey in the Netherlands, have responded by developing new types of furniture.

Tree Trunk Bench, 2000
Wood, bronze
Design: Jurgen Bey
Production: droog©/The Product Matters, Netherlands

Tree Trunk Bench, 2000
Wood, bronze
Design: Jurgen Bey
Production: droog©/The Product Matters, Netherlands
Jurgen Bey (1963-) regards design as a way of telling stories. Often he does so by experimenting with unexpected combinations of materials and components. Typical is the Tree Trunk Bench made by embedding traditional bronze chair backs into the trunk of a tree. People love it or loath it, and if they love the bench, it tends to makes them laugh. Designing a chair from a tree trunk is Bey’s way of poking fun at the over-complicated objects clamouring for our attention in crowded markets. His Tree Trunk Bench also encourages us to imagine its past life as a tree and what will happen to – or on it – as a seat.

PlayStation Chair, 2000
Polyurethane foam, vinyl
Design: Jerszy Seymour
Production: BRF, Italy

PlayStation Chair, 2000
Polyurethane foam, vinyl
Design: Jerszy Seymour
Production: BRF, Italy
Conceived by the Berlin-based designer Jerszy Seymour (1968-) as a comfortable armchair-cum-chaise longue, the PlayStation Chair combines a soft, circular seat with an upholstered leg rest on which you can rest your legs while watching television, or position a Sony PlayStation console to play a video game. Like many of Seymour’s designs, the PlayStation Chair has a playful appearance that belies its underlying practicality. These qualities are reflected in his other designs: from the Muff Daddy denim beanbag seat with long arms that literally embrace the sitter, to the Freewheelin’ Franklin table mounted on the motor of a remote controlled model car.

Glide Sofa, 2001
Polyurethane foam, stainless steel
Design: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
Production: Cappellini, Italy

Glide Sofa, 2001
Polyurethane, stainless steel, foam, wool
Design: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
Production: Cappellini, Italy
While the old school of modernist designers developed finished objects which they intended to be used in a particular way, the French brother Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec ( 1971- and 1976-) are part of the new generation of post-industrial designers who want their work to have a life of its own determined by the user. Typical is the Glide Sofa developed by the Bouroullecs for the Italian manufacturer Cappellini. Combining the conventional seat of a sofa with an extended leg rest, the Glide can be sat or lounged upon. It also has a useful shelf attached to its back for storing books, DVDs, games consoles and any of the other objects that often clutter up the floor.

Folding Air-Chair, 2001
Gas-injected polypropylene
Design: Jasper Morrison
Production: Magis, Italy

Folding Air-Chair, 2001
Gas injected polypropylene
Design: Jasper Morrison
Production: Magis, Italy
Jasper Morrison (1959-) conceived the idea of the Folding Air-Chair when sitting on an old-fashioned wooden folding chair at a local residents’ meeting. “At the end the chairs were folded up so quickly and stacked into such a small space that I finally understood the benefits.? He devised the chair – an addition to the gas injected moulded polypropylene Air furniture he had developed for Magis since 1999 – to be “assembled in seconds? from three pieces of moulded polypropylene connected with pivoting pins. Morrison believes that the application of advanced plastic moulding technology “brings new life to a tired typology? making it suitable for use when a wooden or metal folding chair might seem incongruous.

Samourai Chair, 2002
Polyurethane foam, fabric, stainless steel
Design: Ronan + Erwan Bouroullec
Production: Cappellini, Italy

Samourai Chair, 2002
Polyurethane foam, fabric, stainless steel
Design: Ronan + Erwan Bouroullec
Production: Cappellini, Italy
One of the most popular types of chair for today’s compact, constantly changing modern home is the day chair, which combines the lightness and portability of a conventional dining chair with the comfort of an upholstered armchair. The Samourai is Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s (1971- and 1975-) reinterpretation of the day chair. Inspired by the construction of a traditional suit of armour, the Bouroullecs decided to develop a chair composed of different pieces of soft, yet dense upholstery. Each piece is cut and positioned to enhance the sitter’s comfort by cradling different parts of the body while forming a different part of the seat. The brothers named their chair, the Samourai, after the Japanese military caste.

Repeat Sofa, 2002
Cotton, viscose, polyurethane foam, stainless steel
Design: Hella Jongerius
Production: Maharam Textiles, US and Paola Lenti, Italy

Repeat Sofa, 2002
Cotton, viscose, polyurethane foam, stainless steel
Design: Hella Jongerius
Production: Maharam Textiles, US and Paola Lenti, Italy
A concern of the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius (1963-) is to imbue industrially produced objects with the character traditionally associated with hand-crafted pieces. When commissioned to develop an upholstery fabric for Maharam, the US textile manufacturer, she achieved this by manipulating the repetitions in the pattern. Scouring Maharam’s archive for motifs, Jongerius replicated a series of dots, pixels, pinpricks and dogtooth checks in the form of the Jacquard cards, which are punched with the data that programmes the looms. Each pattern sequence varies in length and is never repeated before three metres to ensure that even if several chairs are upholstered in the fabric, each will look distinctive.

Yogi outdoor furniture, 2002
Rotation-moulded plastic
Design: Michael Young
Production: Magis, Italy

Yogi outdoor furniture, 2002
Rotation-moulded plastic
Design: Michael Young
Production: Magis, Italy
Yogi forms parts of the British-born designer Michael Young’s experiments with plastic rotation moulding for Magis, the Italian plastic products manufacturer. Invited to design a new collection of outdoor furniture “with a smile on its face?, Young (1966-) created the engagingly cartoonish Yogi sofa, chair and table. Each Yogi piece is deliberately positioned low on the ground so that children can slip on comfortably, but adults feel incongruous as they sink down on to it. “Yogi places you in a vaguely humorous predicament and forces you to relax,? said Young. “You can’t take yourself too seriously.?

Rocking Chair_Mari, 2003
Extruded aluminium, plywood
Design: Enzo Mari
Production: Gebruder Thonet, Austria

Chair Mari, 2003
Extruded aluminium, plywood
Design: Enzo Mari
Production: Gebruder Thonet, Austria
To the veteran Italian designer and design theorist Enzo Mari (1932-) , the perfect chair is one in an “anonymous? style which uses the minimum possible material to act as robust, comfortable seat. When he was invited by Gebrüder Thonet, the Austrian furniture maker, to develop a contemporary version of the bent tubular steel chairs it has produced since the 1920s, Mari decided to replace the steel with a light resilient tubular metal – extruded aluminium – supporting a bent and painted plywood seat. Produced in a various versions, with and without arms and as a rocker, Chair Mari is light, compact and easily portable. Some versions also stack efficiently.

Chair_One, 2003
Die-cast aluminium
Design: Konstantin Grcic
Production: Magis, Italy

Chair_One, 2003
Die-cast aluminium
Design: Konstantin Grcic
Production: Magis, Italy
The German designer Konstantin Grcic (1965-) developed the fluid geometric forms of his One series of die-cast aluminium furniture as an alternative to the rationalist style that characterised his work during the 1990s but from which he wished to progress by the end of the decade. Intent on creating a deliberately “strange? form, he accepted an invitation from Magis to work in die-cast aluminium, a new material for both designer and manufacturer. Grcic constructed his ChairOne “like a football – a collection of small, flat planes assembled at angles to create a three-dimensional form? and developed StoolOne as a taller and therefore more challenging structure.

Cork Family, 2004
Agglomerate Cork
Design: Jasper Morrison
Production: Vitra, Switzerland

Cork Family, 2004
Agglomerate cork
Design: Jasper Morrison
Production: Vitra, Switzerland
Developed by Jasper Morrison for the new Vitra at Home collection of domestic furniture, the Cork Family is a variation on the stools he first designed in 2003 for Moooi, the Dutch furniture manufacturer co-founded by his fellow product designer Marcel Wanders. Morrison decided to work with cork after reading a newspaper article on the trend for winegrowers to seal bottles with plastic stoppers and twist-off metal caps instead of traditional corks. “With the cork industry in crisis, other uses for the material take on a new importance,? observed Morrison. “It’s a beautiful material with remarkable properties like being rot and insect proof.? He developed the concept of the Cork Family of tables for Vitra by developing complex sculptural shapes from cork.

Easy Chair, 2004
Injection-moulded polypropylene
Design: Jerszy Seymour
Production: Magis, Italy

Easy Chair, 2004
Injection-moulded polypropylene
Design: Jerszy Seymour
Production: Magis, Italy
Having made his name by designing witty, cartoonish and often provocative objects and furniture, the Berlin-based designer Jerszy Seymour (1968-) embarked on a more conventional industrial design exercise in the development of the injection-moulded polypropylene stacking chair for the Italian manufacturer Magis. Functionally the Easy Chair fulfils its designated function as a light, stackable, easy-to-clean form of seating, just like Jasper Morrion's stackable Air-Chair, also produced by Magis. Yet the generous, almost exagerated form and bold colours hint at Seymour's raunchy sense of humour.

Copyright: Design Museum

Cabbage Chair, 2008
Pleated Paper
Design: Nendo
Production: Nendo Inc, Tokyo

Cabbage Chair, 2008
Pleated Paper
Design: Nendo
Production: Nendo Inc, Tokyo
Nendo designed the cabbage chair for XXIst Century Man exhibition curated by Issey Miyake to commemorate the first anniversary of 21_21 Design Sight in Roppongi, Tokyo. "Miyake asked us to make furniture out of the pleated paper that is produced in mass amounts during the process of making pleated fabric, and usually abandoned as an unwanted by-product. Our solution to his challenge transformed a roll of pleated paper into a small chair that appears naturally as you peel away its outside layers, one layer at a time. Resins added during the original paper production process adds strength and the ability to remember forms, and the pleats themselves give the chair elasticity and a springy resilience, for an overall effect that looks almost rough, but gives the user a soft, comfortable seating experience."

MYTO Chair, 2008
BASF Ultradur® High Speed plastic
Design: Konstantin Grcic
Production: PLANK Ora, Italy

MYTO Chair, 2008
BASF Ultradur® High Speed plastic
Design: Konstantin Grcic
Production: PLANK Ora, Italy
The team at Konstantin Grcic’s studio collaborated with the Italian furniture producer Plank and chemical company BASF to create the MYTO Chair. Reinterpreting the typology of the cantilever chair, it was designed primarily as a manufactured chair that utilises BASF’s engineered plastics. The design development took place within the space of one year, during which Grcic experimented with the creative potential of the material Ultradur® High Speed (PBT – polybutylene terephthalate) and as a result found that the materials properties shaped the final form. The supporting frame would harden and conform to the perforated seat and back, dissolving seamlessly into the net-like perforations of the structure, presenting an elegant transition from thick to thin cross-sections.

Lovers Chair, (Evolution Series) 2008
Recycled Paper
Design and production: Nacho Carbonell

Lovers Chair, (Evolution Series) 2008
Recycled Paper
Design: Nacho Carbonell
Designed in response to the uncontrolled and chaotic rhythm of today’s lifestyle, the Evolution Series presents a range of furniture that provides a refuge in which to escape and a space in which to reflect by yourself, or in the company of others. Carbonell makes use of recycled paper conveying the overload of information that we are subjected to within our society. An iron frame covered with chicken wire of different textures forms the structure. This chair in particular considers both the private and public providing a connecting tunnel that eludes to the different ways of communication.

Stitch Chair, 2008
3mm Aluminium
Designed by Adam Goodrum
Production:Cappellini, Italy

Stitch Chair, 2008
3mm Aluminium
Designed by Adam Goodrum
Production: Cappellini, Italy
The Stitch Chair, launched by Cappellini during the Milan Furniture Fair in 2008, demonstrates a unique mechanism for fold-away furniture, taking up as little space as possible. The hinges are an aesthetic feature as much as a technical one and the choice of bright colours add to its character.

Venus Natural Crystal Chair, 2008
Natural Crystals
Designed and Production: Tokujin Yoshioka, Japan

Venus Natural Crystal Chair, 2008
Natural Crystals
Designed: Tokujin Yoshioka
Production: Tokujin Yoshioka Design, Japan
The Venus Natural Crystal Chair presents a new experimental body of work, seeming to take Yoshioka to a more optimistic place. The Venus Chair is constructed from natural crystals, whilst submerged in a water tank. These conditions are ideal for the crystals to grow whilst attached to a fibre structure. The shape of the chair then evolves as the crystals multiply. Challenging the way in which the making of objects is reliant on man-made applications and processes, the Venus Chair conforms to the power of nature.

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